This port city on the Taganrogsky Bay of the Sea of Azov can trace its history centuries back to the days when it was an ancient Greek outpost, even being mentioned by the historian Herodotus. However the modern city named Taganrog can be given a specific date of foundation - 12 September 1698. On this day Peter the Great decreed the creation of a naval base for the Azov Flotilla of the Black Sea Fleet. The emphasis of the port later shifted from a military to commercial function, especially in terms of the export of Russian grain.
In 1825 Emperor Alexander I was at his summer residence in Taganrog when he unexpectedly died. His sudden death and the resulting confusion about his successor led to the failed revolution of the Decembrists. On a happier note though, the city is even more famous for being the birthplace of perhaps Russia’s most famous playwright and short story writer - Anton Chekhov - and the house where he was born has survived and is now a museum.